We love letters. Maybe it’s because our grandmas always used to tape a quarter to our birthday cards when we were little and we now have this Pavlovian thing going on. Regardless, we want to hear from you. Sing our praises, bust our chops, or just tell us what’s on your mind. Send your thoughts to editor@americanwaymag.com.

IN A LEAGUE OF HIS OWN

I really enjoyed the article about Albert Pujols [“Most Valuable Person”] in the July 1, 2010, issue. Derrick Goold did a superb job of emphasizing and capturing what I believe is the real face of Albert Pujols. He did a nice job highlighting a few of Pujols’ accomplishments in baseball, yet the focus was more on his character.

I truly believe that Pujols loves the game of baseball, and, of course, he is grateful for and even motivated by his acclaim and successes in the ballpark. But what Goold captured in the article is that he is driven by something even stronger than that. Pujols pursues even more relentlessly something that relatively few athletes understand: He considers it an honor to be in the game, and he wants to be worthy of that honor. Pujols continues to be grateful for the more difficult times in his life and uses those experiences as a stake in the ground to give him perspective. Finally, he has not forgotten that ultimately, his life is shaped by his faith and by the relationship he has with God. It is not all about Pujols; he strives to honor that faith and God in all he does.

His dedication to his wife, to his children, to the Dominican children he tries to help and his dedication to be the best player he can be all speak to his character. He knows that as soon as he elevates success in baseball to the top by using performance-enhancing drugs, he has lost everything else that has been instrumental in empowering him to become who he is today.
DAVE HAMILTON, HARRISONBURG, VA.

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: You said it all, my man. This is exactly the message we hoped would be conveyed about Albert Pujols. This is not a mere baseball story but more of a sports-as-sociology story, and Pujols represents the professional athlete that the world should emulate. Thank you so much for your note; it certainly justified the story.

A NICE SLICE OF PIE

I was certainly interested when I saw your article on America’s best pizza parlors [“A Slice of Heaven,” July 15, 2010], and I definitely agree with some of the picks. However, I was a bit disappointed by the article’s lack of geographic diversity. Does anyone really believe that 70 percent of America’s best pizza can be found between New York, San Francisco and Phoenix? In particular, no pizza listing would be complete without mentioning Frank Pepe in New Haven, Conn. If your author’s never been there, he doesn’t know what he’s missing!
BENJAMIN KREFETZ, BERKELEY, CALIF.

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: I had the exact same reaction when I first read the story. I even approached the assigning editor about it, saying, “I have a hard time believing that Arizona has this many of the best pizza joints in the country.” But the senior editor made a sound point when he replied: “The author is the editor of Pizza magazine. I think he knows better than you.” So I yield to the experts in the field when it comes to pizza. But as an aside, I’ll take the Pepsi challenge with Frank Pepe in January … that’s when I’ll be in New Haven.

AN EXCELLENT DISH

In your Aug. 1 issue, there was an article by Nicole Alper on Gordon Ramsay [“Dishing It with Gordon (Bleeping) Ramsay”]. I loved it! Laughing out loud, I shared portions of it with my traveling companion, who was laughing too. Thanks for the laughs.
M. KRISTIN OGLEY, SACRAMENTO, CALIF.

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: So glad you and your friend enjoyed the story. We had a good laugh around here as well thanks to Alper’s witty writing style. And we’ll continue to make you laugh in the future.

TO EACH HIS OWN

I am writing this on an AA flight from Dallas to Houston. I travel a lot, and AA feels like home in an odd, road-warrior way. American Way is the best magazine in the industry, cover to cover. However, there is one weak spot: editor Adam Pitluk’s editorials. I have yet to read one from start to finish. His writing tends to be fancy, superficial and tends to include data and history that come across as puffing to impress. Don’t overwrite.

Look in the mirror. Write about the guy you see there! Your life experiences are what will win friends and influence others and help you create a loyal following. I really want to start liking your editorials!
MARK DOSHIER, McKINNEY, TEXAS

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: I appreciate the constructive criticism, Mark. But as long as you think AW is the best magazine in the business and as long as you read the other 87 pages cover to cover, I have a great solution to your dilemma: Don’t read my column. I’m not offended if you don’t like it. I care more that you like the rest of the magazine. I’m just one page. Mirror-gazing or not, if you haven’t been able to make it through a single column in two years and 48-plus columns, you won’t start liking them any time soon.

THE REAL DEAL

The cover photo for the Aug. 15 issue is stunning. Is that a photo of Interlaken itself or of some miniature model of Interlaken? It looks too perfect to be the real thing!
MEL GEORGE, COLUMBIA, MO.

ADAM PITLUK RESPONDS: The photo is indeed Interlaken. It wasn’t altered at all, save for a crafty blurring of the outlying areas in order to naturally draw the reader’s attention to the paragliders. This was the first cover by our new design director, David Radabaugh. We all agree that he came out swinging with this first at-bat, just like Albert Pujols.